Operation ChromeDome: Close crop for cancer and comrade

Operation ChromeDome

Operation ChromeDome

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

In one week LCdr Judith Harlock will sport a new look: “Cue-ball bald.”

She agreed to go under the barber’s clippers Dec. 15, 11 a.m., and lose her hair to raise money for cancer research and show support for a co-worker battling the disease.

Dubbed Operation Chrome Dome, the fundraiser is a formation-wide show of support for PO2 Fiona Borland who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Operation Chrome Dome is really an open-hearted act of solidarity for PO2 Borland,” says LCdr Harlock.

The two women have been friends for over 20 years since they were posted to HMCS Malahat back in the early 1990s.

“Operation Chrome Dome was Judith and another co-worker’s idea,” said PO2 Borland. “When I said I wanted to raise money for cancer research and treatment she declared if I could raise $3,000 before the holiday break she would go bald.”

The money will be used to support the BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, and the funds will be part of the base’s NDWCC grand total.

LCdr Harlock’s hairless fate was determined in mid-November when the initial $3,000 target was surpassed. The buzz about Operation Chrome Dome and LCdr Harlock’s dare spread quickly with comical police-blotter style posters posted around Naden, a Go Fund Me Page www.gofundme.com/raising-money-for-bc-cancer-agency, and Facebook page, which all helped generate substantial support.

PO2 Borland was touched by the response and admits that creating something positive following a crushing diagnosis didn’t seem possible a few months ago.

In late August, when the 49-year-old was doing a self-examination on her breasts she noticed an inconsistency and reported it to her physician. On Sept. 8 she learned the “ripple” was breast cancer.

PO2 Borland has been undergoing treatment and chemotherapy once a week for the past 12 weeks and is gradually beginning to lose her long blond hair. She is confident the treatment will be successful, but acknowledges it is “physically draining.” On her good days she jogs, cycles and does Pilates, because she says it’s important to stay active to combat the stress and stay healthy and strong.

Some days are better than others, she says, while noting the chemo has yet to produce the common side effects such as nausea and fatigue, but she knows those days are coming soon.

“When I was informed of the news regarding her diagnosis it was like getting hit by a Mack Truck,” says LCdr Harlock. “My first thought was ‘boy I hope this is caught early’, and my second thought became a question of how do I support PO2 Borland. The office [Joint Personnel Support Unit Pacific] was also quite shocked at the news; however, the team has rallied around PO2 Borland and her husband CPO2 Randy Young.”

PO2 Borland says the fundraising process has reaffirmed her belief in the solidarity of the military community.

“The entire process has been overwhelming and inspirational,” she says. “There are people I don’t even know who have given me $100 or more, and I have received so many messages of support. It’s given me a positive focus and motivation to show up to work and get my job done even when I’m not feeling well.”

Operation Chrome Dome is still accepting donations. Go to IPSC on the second floor of N30 or through the Go Fund Me Page.

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